Classic Punk Essentials

Classic Punk Essentials

The origin of punk has long been a subject of debate. Some trace its raw, minimal sound and anti-pop attitude back to the late-’60s transgressions of The Velvet Underground. Others claim punk’s ground zero was CBGB in the mid-’70s, when the Manhattan dive bar housed a parade of misfits that included glue-sniffin’ rockers the Ramones, arty guitar contortionists Television, and radical poet Patti Smith. Then there are those who believe punk truly became a movement when—in the era of peak prog rock—the Sex Pistols unleashed anarchy in the UK with their blasphemous anti-establishment anthems. But their peers in The Clash showed how punk’s raging attack could be a vessel for shrewd social commentary, while the emergence of unruly acts in L.A. (Black Flag), Australia (The Saints), and beyond proved that punk was more than a profane antidote to mainstream-rock excess—it was an empowering philosophy that encouraged disaffected outsiders to take matters into their own hands.

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